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Cabarrus Magazine

Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company to Host Church Congregations

Oct 31, 2018 01:44PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company. Courtesy of their Facebook page @26AcresBrewing.

Why would a church meet in a brewery? 

That's one of the many questions we had when we found out that Chad Cozad was interested in using Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company's space to host a weekly congregation. 

Cozad, a pastor of TheWELL Christian Church, began the church one year ago in a youth building at the Comino Church in Weddington. Each Saturday night for a year, Cozad drew a crowd of about 80 people.

When creating these meetings, he knew that he was going to do things a little differently. Cozad realized that there are thousands of people who not only don’t go to church, but wouldn't go to church in a traditional setting. This is where the idea was birthed. 
 
Cozad had a list of questions he asked himself:

- What kind of space would young adults feel comfortable going to?
- Where do people congregate?
- Where do people gather for community?

There were two clear answers - coffee shops and breweries. Since cafes are typically too small for church, the brewery was the next best answer.  

The advantages of meeting at a brewery:

- Great space
- Great parking
- Comfortable environment
- Not used on Sunday morning

"Ten months ago, I requested a meeting with the owners of Twenty-Six Acres," Cozad told us. "During that meeting I realized that Joel and I went to Concord High School together. We talked about the 'old days' and then I asked this question, 'What do you think about a church renting your space on Sunday mornings?' Joel and his wife Tracy both lit up with excitement."

Cozad discovered they'd been praying that the space could be used by a church, they are members at Mecklenburg Community Church. Their answer was an immediate yes. 

"I told them about TheWELL Christian Church," Cozad said. "We are a new church in Concord and we wanted to grow a community of people that were interested in making a difference in the world around us."

The mission is to rent space as opposed to investing money into buying a building, so that the money can be instead put back into missions. "Our new church has invested $13k into missions over the last year and we are just getting started," Cozad said. "We have great mission partners in #Kennedystrong foundation ( a local organization that works with child, teenagers and adults who have Down syndrome), Jim and Grace Davis in Oceana WV ( a missionary couple who reach out to the poorest community in Oceana) and Coates Ministries in Nairobi Kenya."

That influential meeting left Cozad and Joel reconnected friends and partners. "Joel’s wife and my wife have both survived stage 4 cancer," Cozad confided. "We both have a passion for community. We both are followers of Jesus. It all came together perfectly!"

Cozad grew up on Edgewood Avenue in Concord, attending Coltrane Webb, Concord Middle and Concord High school. He has a business degree from Pfieffer Universtiy and competed Masters of Divinity work at Asbury Seminary.

"I met my wife (Tammy) at church and had my first crush on her when I was 13 years old," he said. "We were married at the age of 23. She has a masters in nursing from ECU and leads a team of researchers at Caromont Medical Center in Gastonia."

Tammy and Cozad were part of Crossroads Church in Concord from it’s creation, Cozad the congregational care pastor for 7 years. From there, he lead the youth ministry at a multi-site church in Hickory and was there for 5 years. 

In 2012, Cozad was hired at University City UMC to pastor the contemporary service. "This is when I began to feel the need to have a different kind of community," Cozad said. The Methodist system moves its pastors when they feel it necessary, and Cozad found that he'd "fallen in love with our church." He did not want to leave, but that's just how the system works.

Cozad and Tammy decided that that they would create their own church community where he could stay, and be able to be with for the rest of his life. 

"Tammy and I have found that we are the most satisfied when we are connected to a productive community," he said. "TheWELL was birthed out of a desire for community and to make the world a more beautiful place. Twenty-Six Acres is about community and their craft is really good beer. I love craft beer, I love community and I love Jesus. That made it a no brainer."

TheWELL is officially a partner with Twenty-Six Acres, and they plan on supporting the brewery and visa versa. Also keep in mind, alcohol will not be served until after the congregation is over.

Though there may be some that won't want to attend a church located in the brewery, it's something that Cozad understands. "We are more interested in building a community that enjoys one another and can exist in a world were conversation is important," Cozad told us. "There are tons of folks who are looking for the perfect place to come to church and this is only one of the perfect places!"

Cozad hopes to reach out to people who desire community and share his hope in Jesus with them.

"As we grow, we will reach out to other breweries and begin additional campuses," Cozad said. "Our goal is to open the eyes of the church to the possibility that churches can start and grow in non-traditional spaces."

The grand opening is 10am on November 11th, the day after Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company's Second Anniversary Party, which begins at noon on November 10th, 2018.   

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